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Old 02-26-2009, 08:43 AM   #1
Brian Stone
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Managing Fatigue

I've seen comments from trainers in a few places advising pulling back a bit on reps in the middle of a metcon to avoid going all out and over-fatiguing the recruited muscles. I'm interested in how and if CrossFitters around the board apply this principle.

For example, it is arguably more valuable through a set of 25 push-ups in the middle of a metcon to stop at 12 when you know fatigue is coming than going for 15 and really struggling on that last rep. The operative idea is that it's going to take the muscle longer to recover from this depletion than just fatigue. That way you don't have to wait longer and bang out 1-2 rep sets to finish out the round.

The less important question here is, is there any physiological validity to any of this? This is not so critical as the practice and more for my own curiosity and edification.

Also, does "pulling back" somewhat have a less positive effect on overall muscular benefit than going all out? I am thinking that, so long as one really pushes out that last set to fatigue, this would mitigate this latter concern, but that's just my suspicion.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-26-2009, 08:53 AM   #2
Aushion Chatman
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Re: Managing Fatigue

Brian,

I believe when you say fatigue you mean FAILURE right? So like in Angie, since I can't do 100 pull-ups in a row, I break it up into 5 sets of 20, instead of banging out 1 set of 38 and failing on the 39th, then having to rest and try to bang out another 17 fail on the 18th, etc.

The underlying reason this is an intelligent way to train is to increase your power output...if 5 sets of 20 pull-ups is done 2 minutes faster for me than 1 set of 38, 1 set of 17, 1 set of 12, 1 set of 11, 1 set of 12, 1 set of 8, + 2-singles. The benefit is increased intensity of the workout.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:00 AM   #3
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Managing Fatigue

The idea is that pushing to muscular fatigue forces you to slow down to the point where you lose intensity. Since intensity is one of the goals of a metcon, that's bad.

Physiological validity? You can test that pretty easily yourself. Do Fran, pushing to failure in each set. A few days later, do it again, breaking sets at some fraction of your max. Which time was faster? Intensity in a metcon equates to time: if the workload is the same, accomplishing it in less time means you generated more power.

This is also the idea behind scaling weights: if the weight is too heavy, you'll have to slow down too much. Lifting 100 lbs ten times is the same amount of work as lifting 50 lbs. 20 times.

Katherine
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:50 AM   #4
Brian Stone
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Re: Managing Fatigue

I agree that intuitively and experimentally it definitely resonates as true. To the less important extent, I was just curious why physiologically this might be the case, although that's certainly not entirely relevant to the main point.

Do you each find that this level is something that you optimize just by trial and error, experimentally? Is this a general level of fatigue that you get an overall feel for across a spectrum of efforts / exercises, or more movement specific?

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:04 AM   #5
Steven Low
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Re: Managing Fatigue

Search for pacing vs going all out.

Same exact thing discussed in detail. Tendency is that you can finish a workout faster with pacing. Going all out increases max endurance, etc. but workouts take longer. There's other physiological adaptations, but I don't want to write them all down again.

Both are useful to do.... it is NOT as useful to do only one of them all of the time.
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:09 AM   #6
John Doyle
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Re: Managing Fatigue

Don't know that this really answers your question. But, do it both ways. Not just to figure out which is faster; but, because they're two different workouts and both serve a purpose.

I can't remember which interview it was on CrossFit Radio recently that a similar question came up. And that was basically the answer provided.
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:22 PM   #7
Andrew Christopher Woloszyn
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Re: Managing Fatigue

Hello again Brian,

The point from Steven Low was the type of thing I was looking for - that they can/do serve a different purpose; so do both. (I have previously thought that reducing WOD times (on for time WODs) is the be all/end all - and worked towards that; but the most nackered I've been after something like Helen, has been when I've gone all-out, even with more rest between sets).

Aside from tendency to push to failure (not good when done often) when going all-out; there's also the loss of form. Both of these can be avoided with conscious attention - but conscious attention tends to be the first thing that goes when going all-out on a MetCon workout.
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:55 PM   #8
Steven Low
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Re: Managing Fatigue

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Doyle View Post
Don't know that this really answers your question. But, do it both ways. Not just to figure out which is faster; but, because they're two different workouts and both serve a purpose.

I can't remember which interview it was on CrossFit Radio recently that a similar question came up. And that was basically the answer provided.
OPT said that he generally has his guys go all out I believe.

I kinda disagree with him there but hey what do I know. Shrug.

All the facts are laid bare on here... try both and see what works better for you.
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